It's easy to forget that on a global scale, the National Football League is not the biggest show in town.
In the U.S., the NFL is king, but worldwide, it's clearly soccer. Other sports like tennis, cricket, basketball, golf, boxing, and racing are certainly very popular as well, and this ESPN ranking of the most famous sports stars in the world kind of gives you a glimpse into the world of sport from an international perspective.
Athletes like Cristiano Ronaldo (1), LeBron James (2), Lionel Messi (3), Neymar (4), and Roger Federer (5) dwarf NFL superstars worldwide, and in fact, the highest-ranked American footballer is Cam Newton.... at 32!
Think about that. The most famous NFL player in the world... is a relative afterthought. This is a sport in America whose preseason games outdraw playoff games in most other "major" sports. Every little minutia of the NFL is covered in great detail in this 24-hour news-cycle, so in our bubble over here in the States (for those of us living here, that is), it's pretty fascinating to ponder the scale of exposure some of these soccer superstars receive.
Anyway -- you're on a Seahawks site so you're probably wondering: Where does Russell Wilson fall?
49th, to be exact. That's actually pretty cool, when you think about it where he started just four years ago. Our little 3rd round quarterback, who was written off, doubted, etc and so forth, now a Super Bowl winning quarterback with a pop star fiance and the fifth most famous NFL player on the planet (according to this, anyway).
He's ranked higher than Tom Brady, who made more money than Wilson last year but is a relative social media troglodyte (he doesn't even have a Twitter! What a weirdo!). Methodology here.
Here's what ESPN has to say about Wilson, who has 2.1M Facebook likes and 1.6M Twitter followers.
IT'S GOOD TO BE
A Super Bowl-winning quarterback with a 46-18 career regular-season record who hasn't missed the playoffs in four NFL seasons. He recently became engaged to Grammy Award winner Ciara.
It's tempting to point to his Super Bowl XLVIII victory with Seattle as a second-year pro, but that Seahawks team leaned on an imposing defense and stout running game. Instead, let's go with his 2015 season. He took his performance to another level by throwing for more than 4,000 yards for the first time, completing 68.1 percent of his passes, throwing 34 touchdown passes with just eight interceptions and leading the league with a 110.1 passer rating.
"I have high expectations of myself. I always have, always will. That will never waver." -- Wilson in 2012
-- Thomas Neumann